Before Seattle Public Library can begin its next phase of reopening — curbside pickup service — it needs to get back the thousands of books lent out before the pandemic closed library doors back in March. That process has now begun: The library is now accepting book returns at the Ballard, Broadview, Douglass-Truth, Green Lake, High Point, Lake City, Northeast, Rainier Beach and Southwest branches, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from noon to 6 p.m. or until the bookdrops are full. The Central Library will be added to that list Saturday, July 25, and the Columbia and Beacon Hill branches on Tuesday, July 28.

In a news release, SPL asked patrons not to rush to return materials, so as not to overwhelm the bookdrop locations: All due dates have been extended to Aug. 15, and there are no overdue fees. New pandemic protocols include a 72-hour quarantine for all returned materials (during which time they will continue to be checked out to your account) and social distancing reminders at bookdrops. The library is also asking patrons to help out by checking their hold requests and deleting any that are no longer needed, and to hold on to book donations until further notice.

SPL tentatively plans to begin offering no-contact curbside pickup of materials at selected locations by early August. You can follow the library’s steps to reopening at